Fourth-grader Ellie can't stop daydreaming about her beautiful horse-the one she's been praying about for many years. She finds out that God does answer prayers, but often in different ways than we expect. Instead of the black stallion that races across her imagination, she gets to keep a spotted pinto horse in her backyard and tries to train her to peep through her bedroom window. God does more than Ellie could have imagined or dreamed . . .
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Ellie James wants a horse. It's all she dreams about. When a horse suddenly appears, will Ellie realize that this is her horse ?
Backyard Horses is a wonderful little series for horse lovin' girls ages 6-9. It is written in first person present tense, which was a bit hard to decipher at first.
Sometimes I thought that Ellie was a rather over confident girl by the way that she talked, but I think that's partially due to the tense and first person point of view. I liked the side characters and her brother Ethan who was deaf, I thought it was a nice touch to have Ellie, her friend and her family all using sign language as part of their natural communication.
Overall I would say that is a cute series that I wish I had around when I was much younger. I could relate to Ellie and how she didn't have a horse and all her other friend had tons of horses. A rather sweet book.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
Horse Dreams is the first book in the Backyard Horses series By Dandi Daley Mackall. This book is a great and easy read. This book is definitely written for younger readers but readers of all ages will enjoy the story and love its Christian values.
"Horse Dreams" is a short, easy to read story about a young girl with a huge love for all things horses and a bigger than life dream of getting one of her own. Dandi Daley Mackall writes a sweet tale of prayer, the importance of it, and how God answers prayers. I loved that the author doesn't make prayer a "magic trick" but rather shows that God often chooses to answer our prayers in a way we don't expect or even want, but He knows is the best thing for us. A couple of other unique aspects of this book is that the main character's brother is deaf, so the author includes a lot of sign language. For instance, each chapter title is spelled out in sign language, and there's an alphabet chart at the back as well. There is also a decently expansive glossary of "Horse Talk" for those who aren't familiar with "that" language. :) I appreciated both of these things, as I love that the reader is encouraged to learn along the way. I think the book is probably perfect for the 6-12 age set, and is definitely geared that way.
Backyard Horses was exactly the series I was looking for for my daughters, who love Jesus, love horses, and are in 2nd grade. Miss Mackall also wrote a series for older readers called "Winnie the Horse Gentler" and I tried that first but I'd recommend it for middle school students and up. Besides being harder to read, those books sometimes deal with harder issues that wouldn't be understandable by anyone younger than pre-teen. Backyard Horses, however, is a fairly new series and is written at around a 2nd/3rd grade reading level. Love, love, love this series!
My daughters love Ellie, the heroine of the story! There are so far 4 books in the series and we started with book 1 in order to read them, well, in order. The heroine of the story, Ellie, is a sweet, oftentimes feisty, day-dreaming 4th grader. In the first book, she often day-dreamed about her own horse. She decides to do a "science" experiment... she'll "beg, cry, and pray" for a horse of her own and find out what way works best for getting horses. I don't think it's spoiling anything to say that God will answer her prayer... but in a different way than she imagined.
I highly recommend this book to elementary school children. It's filled with a good story, important lessons, and a little girl who puts her hope in God. I also highly recommend Cowboy Colt, Chasing Dream, and Nightmare, the others in the series. By the way, you can earn this book for free by participating in Tyndale's Summer Reading Program through the end of August!
One little girl dreaming of owning a horse and planning on all the ways she can work on her parents to talk them into getting her a horse. Cry? Beg? Throw a fit? It's never worked before.... Unfortunately it hasn't stopped her from daydreaming in class and getting into trouble - and that's how the book opens. I loved how involved Ellie gets in her daydreaming up to and including "daydreaming" up a horse outside her classroom window - or is it real? If so, no one believes her...
Horse Dreams is very well written, doesn't talk down to kids and it doesn't seem as though Dandi MacKall is lecturing or "teaching" the kids who read it a lesson. I was very impressed with her method of helping Ellie come to understand her parents point of view about why she can't have a horse. The wonderful part of the book though is that Ellie shows a maturity by the end of the book as she helps an abused horse find a new home and Ellie accepts that her job is to help this "backyard horse" relax and let others help her. I really liked this little girl and I'm looking forward to reading other books in this series.
You can begin reading this series aloud to your younger children around Grade 1 and the reading level is for kids 4th grade and up (it's actually very easy to read and moves quickly).
Much thanks to Dandi MacKall and Tyndale Publishing for donating this book for review and giveaway. I was not paid for my review services and was not required to provide a positive review.
Ellie James has a big imagination, and even bigger dreams. She wants to own a horse. But not just any horse. Ellie wants a black stallion show horse. So she prays for one. Every night, throughout the day, as often as she thinks about it, she prays. While sitting in her fourth grade class one day, her mind wanders and she imagines riding her black stallion to the school, where all her friends are cheering her on. As the teacher calls her name and she snaps out of it, she realizes that part of her dream was real. There was a horse outside!
Follow Ellie as she learns that sometimes the answers to our prayers aren't always what we would imagine them to be. But as long as we trust God, He is always there to give us exactly what we need.
Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for this review.
I received this book, Backyard Horses by Dandi Daley Mackall, free from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a book review. I loved this book!! If you have ever prayed for something to happen, this is the book for you. Mackall does a great job showing the power of prayer, trusting, and believing in God for miracles in the life of almost-10 year old Ellie.
All Ellie wants is a beautiful stallion to ride in the Hamilton Royal Horse Show. She daydreams about this horse. She has prayed for years for God to send her a horse. She is doing a science project on how to get a horse. Begging and crying have already been tried and failed—all that is left is praying. Then, one day she is daydreaming out the window, and there is a pinto horse running around lost; but nobody believes she saw a horse. Ellie thinks, “It’s a horrible feeling when the only one who believes you is you.”
But God has control of this situation. Ellie is dreaming of a champion stallion; God shows her a pinto. Ellie’s brother, Ethan, is deaf. Ellie’s mother and father, and her friends help round out the story. The characters are very believable. Ethan signs to Ellie that there’s no such thing as a coincidence—only God things—which are events only God could bring together. Ellie finally realizes what she has been wanting is right in front of her. Will she realize it in time? Will she get to keep “her” horse? Ellie tells us that she guesses a lot of her prayers are selfish. But she doesn’t think God gets mad for it. She can see Jesus smiling at her when she prays. He’s just glad she can be hones with Him. That is how we need to be. Tell God what you want; the answer may still be no, but at least you’re being honest.
This story is an honest look at a 10 year old’s view of wanting something. It will touch your heart, make you laugh, make you cry—but leave you with a very good feeling at the end. I am looking forward to reading more books by Dandi Daley Mackall. Thank you for an amazing book!
What makes this book so great is that Horse Dreams is written from the Child's point of view. 4th grader Ellie James is a likable character and sure to get your girls wanting to read the whole series. My 11 year old loved this book and can't wait for the rest of the series to be published.
What little girl (me included) hasn't dreamed of having a horse all her own. My girls dreams are constant since their cousin has 2 horses of her own. So my girls could very well have been the character Ellie. Ellie begs, cries and prayers for a horse all her own. She also understands that sometimes prayers can go unanswered till God feels the time is right and we are ready for the prayers to be answered.
Overall this is a wonderful series for girls and I plan to be on the look out for more Horse Dreams books.
Here's what my 11-year-old daughter had to say about Horse Dreams:
"I thought the book was interesting because it was written from a child’s perspective. It was written in present tense, though, and I found that harder to read and enjoy. Horse Dreams was a quick, easy read, which I like! I'm excited for the next book in the Backyard Horses series!
I liked the “cliffhanger” at the end of the book. Okay, not really, because it leaves me wondering what will happen next, but it also makes me want to read the next book!
Ellie is a girl with no friends that are girls, and her best friend is a boy. I wasn't sure how old Ellie is. Her mom is kind of weird and crazy. Her dad appears wimpy in one scene. One thing I did notice is that sometimes the adults seem “dumb” (not dumb, but you get the point), whereas the kids appear “smart”. I'm not sure I agree with that.
Horse Dreams did include bits and pieces of God woven into the story. It wasn't completely centered on God; there could have been more biblical ideas in the book. This is the same author of the "Winnie, the Horse Gentler" series. I loved reading this book!"
Our family looks forward to reading the new volumes in this book series!
I had the pleasure of reviewing Horse Dreams, Backyard Horses by Dandi Daley Mackall with my daughter Taliah. Together we read this delightful tale about a girl who is crazy about horses. Ellie James is a 9 year old girl who has prayed for a horse for years. She has also tried crying and begging but quickly realizes that will get her nowhere. Through an odd turn of events a horse seems to find her.
As a Mom I liked Ellie’s take on prayer she has faith that God hears her yet she knows that sometimes her prayers are not necessarily without selfish motives and while she struggles with the right way to pray she knows that God is interested in hearing from her. She admits that she doesn’t always remember to include God in her day but always tries to talk to him before bed. It is an honest look at a growing relationship. Ellie’s walk isn’t perfect but who’s is,it makes for a great conversation with your young reader.
We thoroughly enjoyed this read!
Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book, the opinions expressed in this review are mine and I was under no obligation to write a positive review.
06 Sep. ’11 Horses, Horses. My girls have gone horse crazy. If it has to do with horses they are all over it. They have stuffed horses, plastic toy horses, and horse books. Ariana has read a book about how to care for horses, a book I would say “booorrrrinnnngggg” she has read a few times. If you want to know anything about horses, ask her. It’s probably in the book she read.
They also have, of course, other fiction books about horses. One they recently read was BackYard Horses by Dandi Daley Mackall. You will get to see and hear their reviews in a minute but first, you have to listen to me.
I LOVED this book!! The basic story is of a young girl who dreams of a horse of her own. She daydreams about horses all the time which as I’m sure you can imagine causes her some problems. I’m not going to give the book away, but let me say this if you have a horse lover in your house they will love this book.
I really liked the titles of the chapters also spelled out in sign language. That was super. My girls have picked up a few signs and I would love to learn more.
I didn’t really like how the parents, especially the dad, was not portrayed as being incredibly intelligent. It wasn’t anything bad, I just think they could have been portrayed as normal parents not quite as dimwitted as they seemed.
Well other than the fact my daughter ripped this book out of my hands right away because she has read ALL the Winnie the Horse Gentler books and has a horse and is just well, plain gaga over horses – It was great! She was excited to learn a few sign language things in the book which added to the whole educational/fun part of the book – all in all it’s a fun series and I’m sure we’ll be looking for the rest of them as they come out!
My daughters thoughts on the book:
"Can you get another book of this mama? "
she was giggling and practicing sign language throughout the book. Her favorite part, other than the fact that it was about horses was that Ellie was funny and daydreamed a lot.(Just like me! she says!). She said she also loved that the horse had spots on it and one in particular was the shape of a saddle – the cats jumping on the horse was pretty funny too.
I rarely request books for my kids that are fiction because most of the time I find them inappropriate for our family.
I went ahead and requested this book because my daughter loves horses, and if it turned out to be a good book, we would have another great series to read!
I decided to read it myself first, so I took off to the tub with the book. That's where I do most of my reading. HA
It was actually a very good book.
I enjoyed it, and I found nothing that was really "bad" in my opinion.
I am pretty strict with what our kids read, but I am happy with this book.
Now that I have told you that I liked this book, I probably should tell you what the book is about, huh? :)
Ellie James is a 4th grade girl with a lot of imagination. She is always daydreaming of owning a black stallion show horse.
Some of her schoolmates have beautiful show horses, and they get to ride in horse shows.
Ellie so much wants to do the same as her friends.
One day while in class, Ellie sees an ugly, dirty, skinny paint horse outside the classroom window.
Ellie tells her teacher that she saw a horse outside, but her teacher doesn't believe her.
After she finds out that there was indeed a lost horse around town, and that her mother was the one who lost it, everyone finally believes her.
Ellie's family sets out to find the horse, and somewhere along the way Ellie realizes that this ugly, dirty, hungry horse is just the horse that she wants. She realizes that she doesn't need a black stallion show horse; that God had finally sent her the horse that she had been praying for.
I loved this book. It was interesting to me and my daughter.
Younger children and older children will both like this book.
It is a fast read for an older child. My daughter and I both finished it in one sitting.
My daughter liked that the book was about horses, and that it had a sign language chart in the back.
Ellie has a younger brother who is deaf, so the family had to learn sign language. Sign language is incorporated throughout the book.
My daughter has been practicing the sign language chart in the back of the book, and now has it all down.
In addition to the sign language chart, there is also a glossary of "Horse Talk".
It is a great way to include some vocabulary words into your lessons.
All in all I am very pleased with this book, and I will be getting the rest of the series for my kiddos.
*I received a copy of Horse Dreams, free, From Tyndale in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation has been given to me.*
Do you have a daughter who loves horses? The first book in Dandi Daley Mackall's new Backyard Horses series brought back memories of wishing for my own horse.
Ellie James, a fourth grader with a great imagination, spends a lot of time daydreaming about owning a black stallion show horse and winning trophies in the horse show. The answer to all her dreams and prayers gallops into her life and it will surprise you at the dramatic turn of events.
I believe all elementary readers will find Ellie James to be honest and yet devoted to animals, especially horses. Also, each chapter's title includes the sign language spelling - an especially nice addition. You'll need to read the story to understand the significance of this feature.
I would highly recommend this book and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, Cowboy Colt. I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from Tyndale House.
Horse Dreams by Dandi Daley Mackall Ellie James is a fourth grader who loves horses. She begs, cries and prays for a black stallion of her very own. She daydreams about them when she’s supposed to be paying attention in class. One day Ellie announces that she really has seen a scraggly, muddy pinto out the classroom window. She is laughed at and reprimanded until the imaginary pinto is seen by the whole town avoiding capture by animal control and the sheriff’s department. Ellie and her mom, who volunteers at a local cat farm, help the pinto recover from neglect at the cat farm so that it can be transferred to a horse rescue elsewhere. Even as she fights getting attached, Ellie’s dreams of a black stallion start turning into the pinto. This is the first Dandi Daley Mackall book I’ve read and she has done a great job of creating a believable story for young girls who love horses. I read most of the book in one night—it is very hard to put down once you start. While the storyline does talk about God and prayer, it is not overly preachy. I loved this book and plan to buy for my own daughter—a fourth grader who loves horses. I read this book through NetGalley in order to give an honest review.
Ellie James wants a horse of her own, so much so that she thinks, breathes, and dreams horses all day long. She dreams so much that when she sees a horse outside her fourth grade classroom window everyone thinks she’s dreaming!
When Ellie manages to capture the lost pinto mare she leads it to the cat farm where her mom volunteers. But a homeless horse doesn’t belong in a cat rescue, where will she go?
As Ellie cares for the pinto she continues to dream about her dream horse and how she’ll get him. But when the pinto is going to be shipped to a horse farm in New Jersey will Ellie realize her dream is right in front of her or will she just have HORSE DREAMS?
Advanced Reader Copy provided in Digital Format for review purposes by the Publisher.